Prodigy is, at its essence,
adaptability and persistent,
positive obsession. Without
persistence, what remains is
an enthusiasm of the moment. Without
adaptability, what remains may
be channeled into destructive
fanaticism. Without positive
obsession, there is nothing at all.
—Earthseed, Parable of the Sower
I really believe in this—those we look up to in society (MLK, Steve Jobs, etc) mostly weren’t otherworldly smart. (“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.” —Steve Jobs) But these people had an unending obsession with a better version of the world. They worked their way toward their vision of it, adapting as the world changed around them.
We act like we just have to live with our economy and money and systems of commerce and government. And yes, at the logistical level, these things are difficult to change when we’re on the ground as individuals. But I think we easily forget that we created all of this stuff. We’re not obligated by the gods to use the United States Dollar and make healthcare expensive, or to use coal to generate electricity. These are all choices “we” (or dead versions of we) made, and we can change them. If we refuse to change our choices, we are failing to live up to our potential (impostor syndrome on a societal scale?).
I think it’s critical we remember we can change the world. That agency belongs to us as humans. We can cultivate optimism, we can build a better world. Literally who is to tell us we can’t? Mitch McConnell? Leaders of other countries? Human power does not extend to controlling thought unless we’re in a enclosed environment. As far as we know, we’re not in one, & regardless, we should behave as if we’re not.
We have the power to think bigger, to go further. No one can stop us—except, perhaps most dangerously, because it’s not the visible enemy—our own preconceptions of what is possible.
Two pieces of work in the world inspiring me right now: